“Well how about that? Frankies! They’re playing our song!” laughed Kathy as the DJ announced another ‘golden oldie’ for the gyrating mass of teenagers on the marquee dance floor. In this case, it was ‘Two Tribes’ by Frankie Goes To Hollywood.
“Shall we show them how it’s done?” laughed James, nodding towards the dance floor.
“No, I think we’ve embarrassed Katrina enough with our antics. It’s her birthday party after all,” replied Kathy, waving to Katrina.
Her dancing daughter waved back, looking older than her 18 years in her figure-hugging little black dress, and skilfully applied make-up, clearly the object of a great deal of attention from the many boys present.
Kathy and James slowly exited from the large marquee, chatting and nodding to guests, many of whom were parents to the teenagers enjoying the disco, now well into its near midnight retro set.
Staff mingled with tenants and peers, along with artists and critics, as guests all equal. However, plenty of them showed due deference out of habit; “Good evening Your Lordship, Your Ladyship.”
“Kathy! I’ve just see your latest exhibition at the London gallery,” gushed Petriona. “Wonderful! All of it!”
“Why thank you Petriona,” beamed Kathy graciously to the rather dumpy guest who was sporting a dress at least one size too small. “Be sure to tell all your friends about it.”
She walked on by, arm in arm with her husband and leaned into him. “Why don’t we go for a ride, just the two of us?”
James smiled and steered his wife towards the stable block, the sounds of the disco dying away behind them in the warm summer night, the bright lights festooned around the trees twinkling. Here and there came the sound of laughter and the rustle of bushes as certain guests improved their friendship with other guests, inhibitions loosened – along with clothing – by the abundance of freely flowing alcohol.
The couple soon reached the stable block and gently coaxed their regular mounts – both home bred, grandchildren of good old Mercury – out of their upright slumbers. Duly saddelled, the two horses affably trotted across the field adjoining the manor and up the dark hill.
“Hmmm… I hope they won’t miss us,” said James looking back down to the brightly lit panorama which dropped away behind them.
“We’ve been there all bloody evening,” said Kathy, adjusting her long evening dress around her waist to allow her a comfortable seat on the saddle, relishing, as she often did, the rub of warm leather on her soft buttocks, her flimsy panties being the only barrier between it and her aching throbbing privates. “We deserve a bit of quality time alone. They’ll be fine, there’s plenty of food and drink, they can cope without us for an hour or so.”
They rode on in silence under the brightness of the full moon. Kathy reined Firebolt to a halt. “The barn,” she said. “Let’s go to the barn!”
“Good idea!” enthused James. “I was just about the suggest that.”
“Hah!” laughed Kathy, but without malice. “Time was, you’d never have thought of something like that.”
“Oh no?” beamed James wickedly. “Well, time was, you’d have thought I was just some spoilt upper class toff who was probably a shirt-lifter anyway.”
“I never did!” protested Kathy.
“Well, you should know,” chuckled James. “And it was all good old Frankies’ doing too….”
Kathy squinted, shielding her eyes against the sun with one hand, her other hand clutching an HB pencil, holding it at arm’s length, as she checked the perspective of the old, twisted oak in the middle distance, measuring it against the copse immediately behind and the rolling blue-green hills beyond. Satisfied that she’d framed the picture clearly in her mind’s eye, she made some swift downwards strokes on her large drawing pad, plotting the trees’ positions, then making three quick bump-like shapes in the background to denote the hills.
Some artists worked in meticulous detail from the word go, many made preliminary sketches; some just made it up as they went along. Kathy made simple plot-markings and then filled in the exact detail from observation and memory. Some of her tutors despaired of her less-than-textbook methodology, but what did they know? She still managed to produce a detailed likeness of whatever subject she was drawing or painting.
You can teach someone the rudiments of anything; painting, writing, carpentry, metalwork, making a bed, ploughing a field. But it was their talent – or lack of it – which determined whether or not they simply rendered a task or whether they made an art of it. And Kathy knew she was talented. It wasn’t arrogance on her part – not really – just what she knew. And what was wrong with that?
Kathy swiped a small cloud of gnats away from her face and reached into her large canvas bag and withdrew her bottle of lemonade. She took a swift chug, feeling some of the cool liquid dribbling down her chin. She wiped her mouth with the back of her hand, replaced the bottle top and pushed the bottle back into the dark, and slightly cooler depths of the bag. She reclined a moment in the long grass, closing her eyes and savouring the warmth of the sun on her face, the slight breeze gently lifting her long, curly hair and fluttering lightly across her bare arms. She hitched her long button-through skirt up to her knees, pulling the long lace petticoat up with it, flapping both garments to create a cool breeze on her legs and her privates. She almost felt like whipping her panties off and feeling the fresh air on her exposed pussy, as she so often did on hot days such as this, but she wasn’t on her father’s land now and, secluded though this spot was, a rambler might turn up at any point, or even some riders. Kathy giggled to herself at the thought of old Mrs Mountjoy’s riding class – Pony Club clones all – trotting up the slope to be confronted by her bared muff. How wanton! How wicked! How terribly typical of ‘that Boscombe girl’! No wonder she’d never made the County Trials team with behaviour like that.
She giggled again and looked lovingly across the meadow to where Tanya was grazing, her chestnut coat glistening in the summer sunshine, her tail deftly flicking flies away. She was, as ever, saddled and ready for action.
As with her art, Kathy was an instinctive rider, a natural – and that’s what intimidated Mrs Mountjoy as much as her college tutors. Basically, they couldn’t teach her anything. People don’t like that.
“And then they call you a know-all,” muttered Kathy, angrily dismissing the line of thought on which she had inadvertently progressed. She might say she didn’t care what people thought, but it did irritate her privately.
She pulled her skirt and petticoat down over her smooth, brown legs and deftly undid a couple of buttons at the bottom of the skirt, to allow it to flap a little more freely. She absently tugged on the laces of her flimsy camisole top to loosen them slightly, then slipped her Walkman earphones into place. She snapped the little machine to ‘play’ and took up her drawing pad again, rubbing a bead of perspiration off the tip of her nose as she began to carefully bring the gnarled old oak to life.
Karma Kamelion faded and then a sonorous beat began, heralding a more recent off-air recording – from last week’s Top 40 – good ol’ Frankies again! Oh yes! Now you’re talking!
She felt, rather than heard the approaching hoof beats, the dry earth being the perfect conductor of the jarring vibrations which travelled up Kathy’s legs and directly through her bottom. In fact, it felt like the horse was already there, several seconds before it materialised into view at the far side of the sloping meadow. A grey, a stallion by the looks of it, leaping majestically over the fence, the vibrations momentarily suspended until all four hooves thudded onto the bone dry earth on her side off the fence. The rider, by its stance and seat, a man, reined the plunging beast around and urged it on up the slope towards Kathy. She pondered sketching the magnificent animal into ‘her’ reality as it cantered towards her, but when its rider’s features became clearer, Kathy’s creative mind closed down as though staffed by a forgetful shopkeeper who had just realised that today was early closing day and it was mid afternoon already.
Even so, to keep up appearances and to signify her total disinterest, Kathy ignored the grinning rider as he drew nearer and bent her head to her work, lightly shading one branch of the old oak, poring over minute details which simply were not there to start with. To her annoyance, the tape clicked off in the Walkman as the last of the song died away and she didn’t have a chance to rewind it and start it playing again before he spoke.
“Kathy! Well now, what a surprise!”
Deep voice, well-educated, good pronunciation – perhaps slightly too good. And as full of self-confidence as she had remembered it to be.
In other words, thought Kathy moodily, bloody arrogant.
“Hello Jimmy,” she said quietly, without looking up, as the long shadow of horse and rider fell across her drawing pad and temporarily shielded her from the hot sun.
“I prefer James.”
Kathy looked up, shielding her eyes against the sun, as the horse shifted slightly, allowing the sun to break free from behind the rider’s head. “How about Your Lordship then,” she asked, with more than a hint of sarcasm to her voice.
The Honourable James Fortesque looked down at Kathy from his high vantage point, rubbing the back of his hand across his sweaty brow. She looked as lovely as he recalled – lovelier in fact. Pretty. No – beautiful. She was wearing the kind of clothes which made her look like one of the buxom maidens from an 1890s erotica postcard – clad as she was in a lace-up, sleeveless camisole top and a long white skirt. He noticed that two or three of the lower buttons on the skirt were undone, allowing him a glimpse of her full-length lacy petticoat. Her reddish brown hair was flecked golden by the sun, her blue eyes sparkled and the attractive freckles on her cheeks and across the bridge of her nose gave her an air of almost child-like vulnerability.
Almost, that is. One thing was for sure, Kathy Boscombe, only daughter of Jack and Mary Boscombe of Manor Top Farm, whom he’d known from early childhood, was most certainly not a child. She was a very attractive and sexually alluring young woman and, he correctly surmised, now a stunning 19 year-old.
However, James was very well aware of the waves of antipathy she was giving off in his direction and he had a vague inkling as to why she was being so offhand. Her posture, her very body language, bristled with indignation and a defiant urge to defend her territory.
Well, we’ll have to do something about that, he thought as he swing his long leg over Mercury’s head and hopped lightly to the ground.
“Mind if I join you?” he asked politely, ignoring Kathy’s last jibe.
If anything, his feigned ignorance of Kathy’s irritable words caused her to become even more irritated with him. She stole a glance at him though and, although she hated to admit it to herself, he looked pretty good. James was a little older than her – she reckoned he’d be about 21, 22 now. His fair hair was slightly longer than fashion – or even decorum in his circles – dictated nowadays. The long, unruly locks of the 70s had given way to shorter styles in the early 80s. True, he was clean -shaven, but at least he didn’t look like some Neo-Edwardian with savagely short hair and old-fashioned clothes like most of the Young Farmers (or Young Fogies as they were disparagingly called hereabouts). Nor did he seem to be as loud or brash as most of them. Kathy certainly knew he wasn’t clueless with girls like your average Young Fogie, but then a title, a stately pile and few thousand acres of land was a pretty strong aphrodisiac to most girls. She noticed that he was wearing a tan coloured linen shirt (thank God it wasn’t one of those horrible ‘country’ windowpane checked numbers with the Fogies favoured), tight, faded jeans and well-worn brown leather riding boots. He was lean, but not slight. He certainly had to be pretty tough to control a horse like the 17 hander (at least) champing at his bit as his master dismounted.
James took Mercury’s reins and led him over to where Tanya was tethered. Tanya looked up and whinnied with interest.
“I’ll not put him too close,” James called back over his shoulder, “He likes the fillies, does our Mercury.”
Kathy shrugged, ignoring him and bent back to her work, savagely pencilling in the shadow around the gnarled oak, her concentration now well and truly interrupted. She felt James draw closer and then drop down beside her. He stretched his legs out and rested back on his elbows, head back, savouring the air.
“Beautiful day,” he said.
“Not bad,” conceded Kathy. “June heat wave or what?” She paused and made a few quick additions to her sketch, deciding that maybe she should try to make polite conversation at least. “I love this time of year,” she added. “All fresh and green. Not like August – it looks all washed out and tired then.”
James sat up and peered over her shoulder at her sketch. “Spoken like a true artist,” he said, with a smile. “I reckon we’re getting August weather though – I think we’re in for one hell of a storm. When I was riding over the High Point about half an hour back, I could see the horizon – pretty black over Hampshire way. Not long til it reaches us, I think.”
“Well, moi old poine cones were up and moi seaweed were getting’ damp.” pantomimed Kathy in overdone Somerset accent. “Uz zimple cunddry folk knows about these things, so we do.”
James chuckled. “Nothing simple about you, Kathy,” he said pleasantly. “College girl and all now, eh?”
Kathy swung round to face him, her eyes narrowing, her cheeks flushing. “Oh? So a farmer’s daughter isn’t supposed to get ideas above her station and get educated, right?” she snapped. “You reckon I should have left school at 13 and resign myself to milking the cows, then? By hand of course!”
James leaned away from her, his hands held up before him in gesture of mock surrender and deflection. “Whoa! I didn’t say that!” he exclaimed, chuckling. “I just said you weren’t simple. I’m impressed that you’re at college, Kathy. That’s all!”
“Oh well, that’s alright then,” muttered Kathy. “His Lordship approves, so it’s okay for the oik to better herself.”
“Kathy, please,” said James, now realising that Kathy’s irritation towards him went far deeper than he had at first thought. “I meant no offence. If I did offend you, I apologise – unreservedly, okay?”
Kathy allowed herself a small, secret smile at James’ innate etiquette and his well-rounded vowels. The guy sounded genuinely contrite, so that registered as a victory in her favour. “Okay, Your Lordship, apology accepted.” she muttered.
James sat quietly for a few seconds as Kathy started sketching again, then said; “Actually, I’m not ‘His Lordship’ yet…. Hope I won’t be for a while. My Old Man’s still going strong, so he’ll be the Squire for a while longer, I think. Er – how are your folks? Are they well?”
“Working hard, same as ever,” said Kathy without looking up. “You know how it is – oh, no, sorry, you don’t. They’re just tenant farmers, it’s not an easy life for them.”
“It’s not easy being a landowner either, you know,” said James quietly. “Pa may have all those tenant farms, but it’s his responsibility to be a good landlord, pay for fence and wall repairs, make sure that roads and ditches are maintained, coppicing, hedgerows, all of that. And if land falls vacant, he has to try to maintain it best he can until he gets a new tenant farmer. It’s not just all a case of raking it in from the rents.”
Kathy sighed. What James was saying was, essentially, true. Lord Fortesque, 11th Earl of Brenmore was, as her father hade remarked on several occasions, a good squire and a fair landlord. He’d certainly never condescended to either her father or mother when he’d called at their farm, always being perfectly polite, taking his cap off to her mother, shaking hands and being perfectly affable towards Kathy herself. Of course, there was that natural boundary between them.
Class, it always came down to class, but His Lordship had never thrown his weight about. Nor, really, had James and they’d always played together happily as kids, their social backgrounds never being a barrier to their friendship. Then, of course, James had gone off to boarding school at 11 years of age, she’d gone to the local Comp and their contact after that had been occasional meetings over school holidays. Secretly, Kathy regretted growing apart from James but as her Mother had observed; “Young Mr James will be squire one day himself, and it never does to be too familiar with them as owns our land.”
“So what’re you doing out on your galloping charger?” said Kathy, in a friendlier tone of voice.
“Ah well, Pa’s getting me trained up as Assistant Estate Manager,” said James, with a hint of quiet pride in his voice. “Of course, all this will be mine one day, but it’s bugger all use being a landowner if you can’t manage the land properly! I’ve been riding around on the old Maddock land, checking the state of repair of the place. Quite a few walls need fixing and ditches to be sorted out before we can let the land. Old Man Maddock had pretty much run the place into the ground before he died.”
Kathy nodded. Reg Maddock had been a miserable old bastard, and when he died two years before, no one had been upset at his passing. Since his family – all alienated by Maddock years before – had sold off his belongings and what little livestock he’d had left, the land had been unoccupied, Obviously now, Lord Fortesque was looking for a new tenant.
“Fair enough,” said Kathy. “You thirsty, James? There’s some pop in my bag.”
“Thanks!” James leaned back and rummaged in her bag, noticing that she had a packet of crisps and an apple in there, together with three or four cassette tapes. He smiled as he noticed the mix of Queen, Elton John, Duran Duran and some off-air recordings of Queen, Scritti-Pollitti, Haircut 100, Ultravox and many more besides. Kathy liked her pop music, he remembered. Come to that, so did he, although his parents weren’t so mad keen on it. He also noticed a board-covered drawings holder, with a lace tie loosely fastening it. Several sheets of paper were visible inside – obviously a selection of Kathy’s paintings and drawings.
James located the lemonade bottle and unscrewed the top, noticing a tiny pink smudge of lipstick around the neck. There was even a hint of Kathy’s subtle perfume, although he might be getting that from her, as he was sitting next to her. He regarded her slender legs – what he could see of them – and her well formed breasts, constricted by the camisole top, but as fulsome and alluring as he’d remembered them to be. Gratefully taking two swigs of the now slightly warm lemonade, James proffered the bottle to her.
“No thanks,” said Kathy, still engrossed in the gnarled oak.
“Thanks,” said James and returned the bottle to her bag. He quietly and surreptitiously withdrew the drawing folder from the bag and began to untie the ribbon.
Kathy caught the movement out of the corner of her eye, dropped her drawing pad and snatched the folder from James’ hands. “Don’t touch!” she snapped. “Nobody looks at my work!”
“That must make it a bit difficult for your teachers to assess it then,” James smiled at her, with the infuriating smirk built into his voice. “Or do they just give you a grade for turning up?”
“You arrogant sod!” snapped Kathy, almost giggling at his conceit, still unsure whether he meant what he said or not. “And they’re not teachers – they’re tutors!”
“Ohhh, I see,” drawled James, still smiling. “Work you hard, your tutors, do they?”
Kathy grabbed her bag, pulled it around to her other side and jammed the folder back into it. “Well, you know, Milord, art college is just a big long game. It’s not proper work, is it? Us lefty students, well, we’re all wasters, aren’t we? We take drugs all day long and go to wild, depraved parties.”
“Oh, so it’s true what I heard about those art colleges then,” beamed James. “I’m quite interested in these wild depraved parties though. Do you reckon you could invite me to the next one?”
“We’d eat you alive!” giggled Kathy. “Now shut up and let me get on with this.”
“Okay, okay,” said James. “One question though.”
Kathy looked at him with exasperation and raised an eyebrow, her face still flushed, her breasts, James noted, heaving with deep breaths she as taking, straining against the laces of her top. “Well?”
“Why are you off school – I mean – college? It’s term time, surely. It’s only June, surely you haven’t broken up yet?”
“I’ve been doing exams,” said Kathy evenly. “I’m not due back for anymore for a fortnight, so I decided to come home, do a bit of course work and have a go at some freestyle stuff. Like now. If I can get on with it that is!”
She pulled her Walkman off and thrust the machine and the earphones into James’ hands. “Here! Listen to some music for a while!” she snapped.
James nodded and slipped the headphones on, and soon realised that he needed to rewind the tape. Catching the sound of ‘Two Tribes’, he wound back to the beginning of the song, leaned back on his elbows again and quietly sang along with it.
Kathy frowned at the sound of James’ tuneless singing, which was, in fact, far from quiet. She felt her heart hammering against her chest and her anger building up. It wasn’t just James’ infuriating manner, or his uninvited presence that bothered her so much – it was his apparent ignorance of why she was angry with him in the first place. The man can’t be that ignorant, surely?
She suddenly could stand it no longer. Throwing down her drawing pad, she wrenched the headphones off James’ head and yelled “For fuck’s sake! Can’t you shut up and leave me alone?”
James was taken aback at the savagery of Kathy’s invective, and, despite his usual self-control, he felt his anger boiling up. He struggled to control it, protesting; “I’m sorry! I just like that song!”
“What do you know about Frankie Goes to Hollywood?” spat Kathy, angrily.
“Why shouldn’t I know anything about them?” spluttered James indignantly. “Or aren’t us toffs allowed to like pop music?”
As he flushed with anger, neither of them were aware of the sun disappearing behind an ominous looming cloud, which seemed to take up most of the horizon, broiling across the formerly clear, blue sky.
Kathy regarded him carefully. She’d never seen him angry before. Well, yes she had, but that was when he beat up Buggy Watson, the local bully – and that was all over her, aged just 11. I wonder if he remembers that? she thought, but secretly awarded herself a pat on the back for riling him sufficiently to snap at her. She was just about to add a verbal killer blow when James interjected again.
“I think ‘Two Tribes’ is the best song I’ve heard for ages. A real indictment of the futility of nuclear war and -”
“Oh get out of your own arse!”
“I mean,” sneered Kathy, “that it could just as easily be all about the class struggle between the proletariat and the capitalist land-owning bourgeois. This is 1984, after all.”
She gave a self-satisfied smile, and then suddenly became aware of some cold drops of water on her folded arms and then again on her cheek. One sneaky raindrop plummeted straight onto her left breast, soaking through her camisole top and freezing the nipple underneath into a hard protesting icicle.
She looked up, numbly uncomprehending at the violently dark sky and winced at the ominous rumble of thunder and the fizzing flicker of lightning some way off.
James looked up apprehensively, feeling raindrops pattering onto his back, freezing his warm skin into goose bumps. The horses whinnied and began to stamp their feet warningly.
“That got here bloody quickly!” he gasped. “Come on – get to the horses! If we ride fast enough, we can make it to Maddock’s barn in the bottom field.”
Kathy didn’t protest. In fact, she felt a small thrill of excitement at the matter-of-fact way James took charge of the situation and the authoritative way he issued his instructions. She jammed her drawing pad and pencils into bag, stuffing the Walkman in on top and hared off across the field after him, up the slope towards the horses. Already she could feel the baked earth growing cooler, smell the unique odour of warmed soil being dampened by the rain. Her arms were a mass of goose bumps. Whereas a few minutes ago she’d have welcomed a cooling splash of water, this was too cold, too quickly.
James had already untethered Tanya for her and handed her the reins. Kathy quickly patted Tanya’s muzzle, whispering calming words, strapped her bag to the saddle pannier and then hauled herself up onto Tanya’s back, bundling her skirt and petticoat up and trying to layer it down each side of the saddle best she could. She thought, perhaps a bit belatedly, that her deliberately sexy outfit wasn’t perhaps the most practical one for riding, or at least not in a hurry. In fact, the warm saddle was now rather damp and she felt the raindrops soaking through her panties, but it was a not unpleasant sensation.
She felt a small thrill of excitement, despite her antipathy towards James as she saw him effortlessly swing up into Mercury’s saddle, his muscles ripping under the rolled-up sleeves of his shirt as he brought the twitchy horse under control.
“Follow me!” he shouted, as a deafening clap of thunder broke overhead, the vibrations jarring through the rapidly softening earth. Mercury galloped down the slope, and Kathy urged Tanya after him, jerking the reins back as best she could to prevent Tanya from bolting.
She had to admit, she had no idea where Maddock’s bottom field was, but James seemed to know, so she urged Tanya onwards, almost catching up with the swiftly moving grey. Over the fence went Mercury, clearing it easily, juddering to the ground beyond, past the gnarled oak and ever onwards. Tanya cleared the fence, but not with as much ground to spare as the stallion.
A harsh, long flash of lightening strobed the darkening landscape into monochrome, the thunderclap rolling after it, driving displaced ozone before it, prickling both riders’ and horses’ skin.
Within seconds the field had been covered and the horses were over the hedgerow and galloping down a deeply sloping, overgrown fallow field towards a dilapidated building in the bottom corner.
The rain suddenly burst forth from the clouds in a steady, icy stream, as though someone had turned a tap or a sprinkler system on, just for the sheer hell of it.
James bent low over his mount, Kathy involuntarily crying out as her camisole top became suddenly saturated and clung coldly to her body, pinching her nipples as though in icy steel clamps, her bra offering her no protection whatsoever.
“Nearly there!” yelled James, slowly slightly to allow Kathy to draw alongside. “It’s open at one side – ride straight in!”
“Okay!” Kathy yelled back, digging her heels into Tanya’s flanks to urge her to go that bit faster, not that a speedier arrival at the barn would prevent her from becoming any wetter. She savagely brushed long, wet strands of hair out of her eyes and over her head, wishing she hadn’t, as a large amount of displaced rainwater trickled down her neck.
At last the dilapidated barn filled her vision. The wooden walls were pockmarked with holes, and a large section where the doors would once have been was open and exposed. Rain drummed madly on the rusty corrugated tin roof, cascading down from broken guttering onto the bare earth outside, threatening to turn the soil into a quagmire.
James urged Mercury through the gap into the barn, reining him back and slowing him with expert ease. Kathy began to slow Tanya several yards from the barn, knowing that her mount was a bit skittish when entering strange buildings, even large ones like the barn. Thankfully, Tanya slowed to a steady trot and gratefully entered the barn, shaking her drenched mane and tail, flicking cold water over Kathy. Not that it made much difference to her overall general demeanour. However, to be out of the driving rain and the overcharged atmosphere was a palpable relief for both riders.
“Thank God for that!” exclaimed Kathy, stiffly dismounting and wincing as her bare leg contracted a friction burn against the dripping saddle.
She looked around the barn. It would have been gloomier, but the holes in the rickety wooden walls and from certain points of the roof admitted what daylight there was, although this was now muted to almost twilight conditions by the looming storm clouds outside. However, the interior of the barn, although obviously neglected, was not as Spartan as she’d first thought it would be. There were several bales of dusty hay stacked up against one wall, whilst a great deal of loose hay was strewn across the floor. A small group of bales were placed close to the opposite wall, as though they’d been hauled out for possible use, but then simply left to stand.
The overall smell was unmistakably that of hay, but mingled with neglect and misuse. The rainwater trickling down onto the dusty floor added a freshness that the barn had not experienced for many a long time.
Kathy tethered Tanya next to an old hayrack and cast about for some halfway decent hay to put in it for her to eat. James had tethered Mercury to a support post and the stallion seemed content to pick up mouthfuls of strewn hay and munch lazily on this less than salubrious fare.
“Are you okay?” asked James, shaking his shirt by the collar in a vain attempt to shake some of the rainwater out of it.
“Mmm, yeah, I’m okay,” muttered Kathy, fiddling with the pannier buckle and pulling her bag free. She crossed over to the little pile of hay bales and began to empty the damp bag, carefully laying her drawing pad and folder out on their own bales.
“Are they wet?” enquired James with genuine concern.
“Nah, they’re okay,” said Kathy, tipping out the Walkman, the lemonade bottle, crisps and apple. “Might’ve got wet if we’d been out in it a bit longer.”
She waked over to the wide-open doorway and leaned against the remains of the doorframe. Looking out at the rain blurred landscape, twitching involuntarily as the lightning streaked across land ands ski with its ghostly blue light yet again.
James cautiously approached her and slowly, tentatively, reached out and brushed her upper arm with the palm of his hand. To his relief Kathy didn’t twitch him off. She turned and looked down at his hand and he gently rubbed her arm up and down.
“You’re cold,” he said, concerned. “Come and sit down. I can – er –warm you up, I – er- ” He blushed slightly.
Kathy smiled. “It’s okay James. I’ve got a poncho in my saddlebag. If I get too cold I’ll put it on. It’ll still be dry.” Then she added, conversationally: “It’s a genuine Peruvian one. My mate Sue bought it for me when she was out there last year on her gap year.”
She idly stepped over to the pile of bales and sat down, looking up at James, noticing that, although he wasn’t exactly broadly built – slender, if anything – he was very well muscled. It was all pretty latent with him, under the surface. His damp hair had flopped over his eyes and it was quite endearing to see him brush it away irritably. “Come and sit down.” she said. “Want to share my apple?”
“What’s your name then? Eve?” he grinned and sat down next to her, gratefully accepting the apple and taking a bite. “Temptress woman!” He proffered the apple back to Kathy, who took it, brushing his hand with her long fingers, then putting the apple to her mouth taking a generous bite from the smooth green fruit, licking the juice from her pink lips. James swallowed. It was all getting to be a bit much for him.
“Er – Kathy….” He began, hesitantly.
“Mmm?” responded Kathy, her mouth full of apple.
“Why are you so, so – well – so hostile towards me?”
Kathy’s face hardened and she plonked the apple down next to her, not offering it back to him.
“Honestly!” she snapped. “You really haven’t got a bloody clue, have you?”
“Er – no. Sorry. I mean, if I’ve offended you, I’m-” stammered James.
“When did you last see me? Before today, I mean”. Kathy was unconsciously tapping one foot on the dusty barn floor, with growing impatience.
James thought hard. “It must’ve been the Young Farmers’ Summer Ball. About a year ago. Why?”
“And what happened there? Do you remember dancing with me?” Kathy was firing the words at him, staccato-fashion.
“Well yes, I thought we were getting along fine and then you, well, you went off. Danced with your friend.”
“Yes, I went and danced with Sue for the rest of the evening because you started slow dancing with that leggy blonde in the little black strapless number. She cut in on us, and you stayed glued to her for three dances. I’m not being made a mug of, James. Never have, never will.”
“You mean Petriona?” he asked, suddenly recalling that fateful evening, the blur of the disco lights, the haw-haw-haws from the Young Fogies and the palpable lack of decent looking girls except for Kathy and, possibly, the Honourable Lady Petriona Simcock. “But – but she wanted a dance. And you didn’t want to seem to dance with me anymore. You seemed – well – quite happy to dance with your friend.”
Kathy finally snapped with impatience. “She was all over you, you twat!” she yelled. “And you both kept looking over at me and giggling with each other. How do you think that made me feel?”
“She – she – I – well, we didn’t do anything,” said James, sheepishly. “She may have wanted to – I don’t know – but she’s not my type.”
“But what were you saying about me?” demanded Kathy, taking a savage bite of the apple.
“I didn’t really say anything about you, and that’s the truth,” responded James. “But she asked me if you and Sue were –well – close.”
“Close? What did she mean by that?”
“Well, intimate, I think.”
“Intimate? Intimate?” roared Sue. “She thought I was a fucking lesbian, because I was dancing with my mate because you – because you’d given me the old heave-ho for her! Cheeky fucking cow! I’ll fucking pummel her if I ever see her again! Fucking cheek!”
“Look, I had no idea. I’m so sorry,” began James, putting his arm around Kathy’s shoulder to placate her.”
Kathy viciously shook his hand off. “You said she wasn’t your type,” she snapped. “Petriona, I mean. What is your type then? Big and brawny? Or Brideshead Revisited? You know Frankies are gay, don’t you? Maybe that’s why you like them so much!”
“How dare you!” bridled James. “Just because I wasn’t all over you or didn’t find Petriona attractive doesn’t mean I’m gay!”
“Well, you know,” said Kathy wickedly, “All-boys boarding schools and all that.” She smirked. “Tell you what James, I’ll re-do my make up, then why don’t you kiss me, then you can mince around with my pink lippy on. It’ll suit you. A good way of coming out.”
She was surprised at the speed with which James grabbed both her upper arms and even more surprised at the strength of his grip. He brought his face close to hers, no hint of a smile, sardonic or otherwise on his features now. “I’ll kiss you,” he said, his voice hard. “It’s what you’ve wanted all afternoon anyway!”
With that he lunged towards her, pressing his lips hard against hers. She resisted for all of two seconds then slowly and gratefully opened her lips to admit his tongue… but instead felt herself falling backwards, propelled over the bale by James who pulled himself back, letting her sprawl in the strewn hay, her legs sticking up over the bale, her skirt and petticoat riding up around her waist, her damp panties revealed for him to clearly see.
“What are you doing?” she yelled.
“Taking a peek!” smirked James, missing the display of undergarments, instead grabbing her drawing portfolio from the adjacent hay bale and yanking the ribbon undone. “Hey! Not bad,” he exclaimed, leafing through the drawings and paintings hurriedly as Kathy struggled to sit up, dragging her legs to one side and pulling her skirt down.
“Bastard!” she spat.
Kathy made a lunge for the folder, but James held it away from her. “Hey! The old pile!” he said, looking I admiration at a watercolour of his family’s stately home, perfectly captured from the East, if he wasn’t mistaken.
Kathy leapt over the bale and cannoned into James, wrenching the folder away from him. She snatched the painting of Brenmore Manor from him as he sheepishly held it out to her.
“I told you no-one sees my work!” shouted Kathy. “Are you fucking deaf and stupid? This is my work, my hard graft. Not yours!”
“You’re very talented,” said James, placatingly.
“Oh yeah? Me, a simple farmer’s girl? I suppose you need talent to inherit a great big bloody estate, do you?”
James swatted the folder from Kathy’s hands with a backward stroke of his hand, silencing her protests with a snarl and a jab of his finger at her, forcing her to take two steps away from him. “Will you shut up?!” he bellowed. “You haven’t got the fucking monopoly on hard graft, you know!”
“Monopoly?” began Kathy. “Oooh, better get your idol Maggie Thatcher to privatise me then, cos –”
“I said – shut up!” James was fuming now. “I said you were talented, yes, you are. And yes, I know you work bloody hard at your art, and I’m impressed. I always have been, that’s why I ask your folks about you and how you’re getting on whenever I see them! That’s why they’re so proud of you ‘bettering yourself’ as you call it! I work hard too, I’m studying at agricultural college, but it’s hard going for me, I never hit the top grades. I don’t have a natural talent like you do, but I’m trying bloody hard to learn estate management, farming, dairy yields, even bloody EEC regulations. I want to do my best to be able to run this estate for my Pa!”
Kathy recoiled, then hit back. “What’s your point? And come on rich boy, your Daddy’s hardly likely to say you can’t run the estate for him even if you do fail all your exams, is he? You’ll just bloody well inherit it all one day and get someone to run it, like you’ve got an Estate Manager now. It still is Geoff Malloy, isn’t it?”
James turned away, took a deep breath to calm himself and then turned back to her, struggling to keep his voice at a calm, even pitch.
“My point is, I want to do a good job of running this estate for my Pa, or more specifically, for the tenants. Yes, I will inherit it all one day and yes, I’ll employ an estate manager, but I want to know how it works, I want to fulfil my obligations as a landlord, like my father does. He’s been in and out of hospital for tests the past few weeks. I’m sure it’s all okay and nothing to worry about, but that’s why I’m back here doing my best to learn, because I might just inherit it sooner rather than later.”
Kathy’s face fell. She realised she’d provoked James too far. She looked at him now, his face still flushed, shaking with anger, his damp hair plastered to his forehead, his lean body looking so inviting and – and was there a bulge in his jeans? She so wanted him just to grab her and shag her stupid, but still that fiery, volatile streak in her demanded satisfaction of its own.
“I’m sorry your Dad’s not been well,” she snapped. “But what’s all that got to do with me?”
“What it has to do with you is this,” said James slowly. “You have real talent and you don’t have to work too hard at it. Oh yes, I know you do work hard, so don’t bite my head off, but your calling comes naturally to you. It doesn’t come naturally to me, I struggle. And all you can do is sneer. It’s like your riding and how you stormed out of the Riding team years ago, all because you were talented, old Ma Mountjoy knew you were talented, but you wouldn’t take orders, wouldn’t be a team member. You knew it all! Basically Kathy, you’re an arrogant little bitch at times!”
Kathy stepped forward angrily. What James had said was totally true, and she knew it. But for him to tell her like that – it – it – well it hurt! She felt tears springing to her eyes and this fuelled her anger even more. With a sob of pure anger she threw herself at James…
…. And into his arms. Her mouth hungrily devoured his lips, her tongue thrusting deep into his mouth, meeting his own probing tongue, which set about tickling her tonsils with a passion all of its own. One hand gripped her firm buttocks, vainly trying to pull her long skirt up to gain access, the other hand running through her wet, frizzy hair, down her cheek and squeezing her aching left breast. Kathy raised one leg, pushing herself into James, feeling the hardness between his legs pressing into her thigh.
“For God’s sake fuck me, Fortesque,” she hissed in his ear, nibbling his earlobe and moaning as he responded in kind. “D’you hear me? Fuck me now, Your Lordship!”
James tugged ineffectually at the laces on her camisole top in an attempt to open them, but their wetness had caused them to seize up and resist all attempts at unfastening.
“Rip them open,” she breathed, urgently, feeling the wetness between her legs spreading. “Rip it off me, like this –”
To illustrate her point she ripped James’ shirt open in two quick tugs, dragging the sodden garment down his arms and digging her long nails into his surprisingly hairy chest, her nails drawing red lines in his damp skin.
James needed no second bidding. He tore Kathy’s camisole open, the laces ripping apart, breaking some of the lace holes, the flimsy damp material shredding in the process. Her large breasts, snugly encased in a damp strapless bra elicited his attention and he ducked his head and nibbled at her rock hard nipples through the material of the bra, pulling and teasing them into even greater rigidity.
Kathy took a step backwards and tripped over the edge of a hay bale, causing them both to sprawl in the strewn hay. She laughed and then attacked James’ mouth with a renewed vigour, pulling his hair with one hand, digging her nails into his bare back with the other drawing him down onto her.
James reached round behind her back, making no attempt to unfasten the strapless bra and waste time fumbling with the hooks, but instead ripping the fastening apart, tearing the bra away from her, freeing her ample bosom.
One hand squeezed a mound of flesh, trapping the protesting nipple between two fingers and tugging at it, whilst he busied himself with her other breast, sucking hard, vacuum-cleaner like over as much of the milky white globe as he could, drawing it upwards, eliciting a cry of pleasure from Kathy and then, slowly, slowly, letting gravity draw the breast down again, until just her nipple was held between his teeth, finally releasing it and then diving down to lick it, first around the nipple and then on it’s tip, repeating the process with its needy neighbour.
“Come on, be the Lord of the Manor ravishing his simply country wench,” hissed Kathy, urgently, reclining in the hay, bare-breasted and smarting from the assault on her upper body. “I’m your chattel, your property. Strip me and fuck me to your pleasure, Milord!”
James knelt and gripped her long skirt, tugging at the material and methodically tore it open from bottom to top, buttons ripping off and flying about the barn, until he reached her waist band and then yanking the two flaps of material aside. As Kathy groaned excitedly, he turned his attention to her long, lacy petticoat, ripping the soft material, the sound as jaggedly electric as the lighting strobing the barn and inflaming his passion. Eventually the petticoat was torn in two, and Kathy’s smooth, slender legs revealed. With some frustration, he tugged at her damp panties, realising that much of the moisture soaking the front of Kathy’s undergarments was caused by her own juices leaking free. With a savage wrench, he ripped the panties away, the elastic cutting into Kathy’s thigh, causing her to wince slightly, but making a very satisfying snapping sound as the panties were torn aside and her partly shaved pussy exposed to the open air. The cool air across her damp lips, her tingling clit already yearning to be touched.
James ran his fingers over the Kathy’s mound, teasing the pink lips into full redness, tugging on them and then slowly inserting first one finger, then a second, pushing the spongy lining of her cunt apart, her juices flowing freely and lubricating the tight passage. One finger tip ground into her clit, sending shockwaves throughout her whole body.
“Oh yessss…. Go on… Fuck me!” groaned Kathy. James withdrew his fingers, now glistening with Kathy’s own fluids, and tugged at his broad leather belt. Kathy sat up and helped him to yank the belt undone and pull it from his jeans. Together they wrenched the button on his jeans undone and yanked his fly open. James rose slightly to pull his jeans down, whilst Kathy’s eyes widened at the huge bulge almost forcing James’ briefs away from his hardened cock. Deftly she reached over and savagely pulled the briefs down, tearing the material in the process, gasping with delight as James’ cock sprung up to attention, the purple head throbbing, drops of precum glistening at its tip. James might be lean in body – and she hugged that lean and hard body to her now, feeling his warmth on her softer contours – but he wasn’t lean in the tackle department. He was big and broad, and –
Her thoughts were interrupted as James roughly pushed her down onto her back in the hay. “Lie still!” he snapped, playing the part of the rapacious squire to perfection; He reached round for his belt and swiftly wound it round Kathy’s wrists, yanking it hard and fastening her wrists together. He then looped the belt around a wooden support pole and tied it tight, pulling Kathy’s hands above her head, whilst still ensuring she was lying on her back
She looked up at James, her mouth open with anticipation, eyes dreamily opening and closing, her breasts tingling. James gave her a calculated, cruel smile.
“Now then,” he chuckled, “Let’s see if we can fuck some of that bolshiness out of you.”
“Go on then, Your Lordship, put me in my place. Teach me a lesson!” laughed Kathy, although with a hint of nervousness. She frowned slightly as she saw James turn round and take something from the top of a hay bale. Her eyes widened when she realised it was the Walkman. He fumbled with the controls and turned the volume up loud, unjacking he earphones so that the little machine became like an ordinary cassette player. Sonorous tones echoed around barn ad the opening bars to ‘Two Tribes’ began to beat out, the cacophony of ow-ow-ow building. The words of the frantic song echoed around the barn, accompanied by the celestial lightshow outside.
With that, James grabbed her legs and savagely wrenched them wide apart and hefted them up onto his shoulders, burrowing down into her, his cock ramming deep into her dark wetness. He bucked into her, backwards, forwards, harder, deeper, her own movements meeting his for urgency and rhythm. Kathy tugged against the unyielding leather belt, feeling the leather dig into her wrists, feeling at once trapped and yet empowered.
“Take – that-you-fucking-little-farmer’s-whore-daughter!” gasped James, using invective and sentiments that came from beyond him, outside of him, yet somehow channelling into him, making the game excitingly real.
“Yes! Yes! Fuck me, you fucking upper class bastard!” yelled Kathy. “Fuck meeeeeeeee!”
Her legs pressed had on James’ neck making him feel light-headed but he dug his fingers had onto Kathy’s buttocks causing her to cry out and to slightly relieve the pressure on him.
Harder… deeper… harder….deeper…
Upwards…. forwards…. harder…. harder….
Suddenly a wonderful tingling around James’ knees, a release deep within his throbbing balls and a rush of hot spunk, powering its way into Kathy’s aching cunt, prompting her own juices to cascade free, her own orgasm electrifying her clit, her legs, her breasts, her whole damn body as a sheet of lightning illuminated the whole barn into stark whiteness for a full three seconds, followed by a devastating thunderclap which shook the corrugated tin roof and caused both horses to whinny with sudden fright.
Kathy and James’ screams of delight echoed around the barn as the thunderclap died away, the last strains of Two Tribes petered out into silence, followed by the dry click as the cassette reached its end. After this, the only sound was the rain drumming on the roof, a little more lightly than before, and the sighs of the two sated, weary lovers, as they cuddled up close to each other in the hay.
The horses trotted across the hill, Kathy and James being careful to rein them here and there to prevent them from slipping on the damp grass. The sun beat down again; warm, but not madly scorching like it had been a scant two hours before. Steam rose from the sodden grass and leaves, birds sang and wheeled in the light blue sky, washed clean of the heavy thunderclouds, while insects buzzed around again. Everything felt bright and clean, vibrant, renewed and restored after two weeks of near torpor caused by the heat wave. You could almost feel the plants growing with renewed vigour. Kathy reflected that the bleakness of ‘Two Tribes’ was in stark contrast to the lush beauty around her. If any madman ever did unleash the bomb, all this would be gone forever. She shivered. It didn’t bear thinking about.
“Are you cold?” asked James, concerned.
Kathy smiled across at him, all antagonism towards him long since laid to rest. She shrugged inside her Peruvian poncho, relishing the feel of her naked buttocks on the warm leather of the saddle, her pussy catching to fresh air and tingling from its most recent fucking – this time when she had tied James’ wrist with his own belt and she had sat on him, allowing the lower classes to get the upper hand, so to speak. It had been good, very good and by the time they’d finished, the storm had abated and the rain had stopped.
“I’m fine, thanks Honey,” she smiled, “Just thinking about how we’re lucky to have all this.” She nodded towards the rolling Somerset countryside. “We have to have hope for the future, don’t we?”
“Oh yes,” said James earnestly, his bare chest, although a mass of scratches like his back, enjoying the fresh air and the sun. “I’m always grateful for all of this. It’s our heritage, after all.”
The horses dropped down over the brow of the hill and began their unhurried approach to Brenmore Manor, imposing and strangely bewitching in the late afternoon sunshine.
“You’re sure it’ll be alright for me to borrow some of your sister’s clothes?” asked Kathy.
“No problem at all, not a twin set insight, I assure you,” said James. “Have a bath, stay for dinner if you like. You can phone your folks from the house, let them know you’ll be late. In fact,” he smiled wickedly, “you could stay a bit longer if you like.”
Kathy looked across at him and raised an eyebrow.
“My – er – my folks are away for a few days,” added James, wondering if he’d overstepped the mark, in spire of the mad sexual frenzy which had taken place in the barn. “Not that they wouldn’t welcome you, I mean. Er – it’s just that, um – no clothes and all…”
“Ahhh…. So you are the Lord of the Manor right now then?” giggled Kathy.
“Technically, yes, I suppose so,” beamed James. “So please stay, be my guest. And – er – if you want to make this a more – um – regular thing -I mean permanent thing – please do. I’d love that.”
Kathy spurred Tanya on a little, causing James to spur Mercury to keep up.
“Why Your Lordship,” she said, in an innocent voice. “Is that a proposal?”
* * * * *
James smiled at his wife, his love her undiminished by the years. Her sparky, vibrant and above all sexy personality still firing the deep passion and feeling he had for her.
Kathy smiled back at her husband, a good man, a decent man, a damned good squire and landlord, a wonderful father to their children and, above all, a loving and passionate man.
“There she is,” he said, nodding towards the lower field and the barn.
“It’s not quite the same,” she said. “There isn’t a storm brewing.”
“Hmm, maybe not yet there isn’t, but we can make one of our own,” beamed James, nodding towards the long-since restored barn. “And there’s plenty of hay in there. I checked earlier on today.”
Kathy urged Firebolt onwards. “Why Your Lordship,” she said, raising an eyebrow and affecting an innocent voice, “Is that a proposal?”
* * * * * END * * * * *